Exclusive Interview of Dr. Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman & MD, BEML

Exclusive Interview of Dr. Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman & MD, BEML Ltd
Exclusive Interview of Dr. Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman & MD, BEML Ltd

In an exclusive interaction with Mr Narendra Shah, Managing Editor of Metro Rail News, Dr. Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman & Managing Director, BEML Says technology up-gradations and quickly adapt with continuous innovations help us for rapid transformation from manufacturing standard Metro coaches to driverless Metro trains. Here are the edited excerpts:

Heartiest congratulations for winning Most Admired Leader Award. How can organisations focus on Developing People and Capability?

Ans: Thank you very much, for your compliments. As the leader of the organization, I believe that, this recognition is a reflection of the commitment and unstinted support of my team at BEML. 

BEML operates in a highly competitive business environment. The competitive advantage of an organization is defined by how well it manages its People; how well Human Resources Management is incorporated into Business Strategy. The greater reliance on intellectual capabilities for success in business, therefore calls for dedicated, suitably skilled and prudently deployed workforce.

BEML believes that people are the differentiating element for BEML to be a successful organization. They are being nurtured and developed so that they strive to take the organization forward to achieve its laid down goals.

BEML has one of the biggest rail coach factory in India, what are your current capacity and future expansion plan?

Ans: BEML Limited, has state-of-the art manufacturing facilities at Kolar Gold Fields, Mysore, Bangalore and Palakkad; manufacturing Defence, Mining & Construction equipments and Rail & Metro products, for the national and international markets. The manufacturing units are accredited with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 – 2004, BS OHSAS 18001 and other certifications.

BEML’s Bangalore factory is the first rail coach manufacturing unit in India and till date, BEML has manufactured and supplied more than 18,500 passenger coaches to Indian Railways.  In 2002, BEML forayed into the manufacturing of state-of-the-art Metro Coaches. Since then, more than 1600 metro coaches have been supplied to various metro rail corporations in India such as Delhi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai. BEML holds over 48 percent market share in Metro coach segment in India against stiff competition with MNCs. 

To cater for burgeoning metro orders, BEML recently set up an additional assembly line, and currently the Company has the capacity in its units to produce over 700 rail coaches per year and 300 metro cars per year. Further expansion plans would be based on market demand to augment the annual production capacity by 360 metro cars.

BEML signed an MoU with IRCON International to explore and address opportunities in the overseas market for large infrastructure projects in the transportation sector; What are the key focus area?

Ans: BEML’s MoU with IRCON is to explore and address overseas business opportunities. IRCON under Ministry of Railways is a leading turnkey construction company and executes entire spectrum of construction activities in the areas of railway infrastructure. It has an extensive presence in Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, UK, Algeria, Sri Lanka and they have completed over 100 projects in more than 21 countries.

 The MoU was signed with the objective to synergize respective strengths for identifying / bidding / executing railway projects, including supplying and maintaining the rolling stock manufactured by BEML in countries where both have business interest.

 While addressing overseas Rail & Metro projects, BEML will manufacture, supply the rolling stock, provide spare parts and service support as per project requirements while IRCON will execute civil and construction work, facilitate design and other technical support

BEML is a government-owned company, certain procedural and other obligations are absent in private companies. What are the steps taken to minimise?

Ans: BEML as a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Defence is guided by laid down policies and guidelines. BEML in turn has formulated transparent and clear-cut procurement procedures based on the mandated rules and regulations, to deliver world class products to customers. In order to align with market sentiments, BEML constantly interacts with its vendor ecosystem by conducting vendor meets, pre-bid meetings and seeking customer responses and feedback, to modify the internal processes to meet customer expectations.

How did BEML make the rapid transformation from manufacturing standard Metro coaches to driverless Metro trains?

Ans: BEML has the requisite skilled manpower that can absorb technology and deliver products. The R&D setup is also able to rise upto meet the technology up-gradations and quickly adapt with continuous innovations. BEML successfully delivered 384 driverless metro coaches for Delhi metro under RS10 project. Apart from the above, BEML is also executing 504 driverless metro coaches for Mumbai Metro under MRS1 project.

What are the key differences between metros in other countries when compared to India?

Ans: In terms of technology, BEML metro cars are at par with global standards. Hence, there is no difference in metro cars manufactured in other countries vis-a-vis the state-of-the-art BEML metro cars.

What is your outlook on the metros in India?

Ans: The vehicle population has been growing phenomenally, leading to air and noise pollution resulting in health problems; besides, heavy congestion on the roads causing traffic jams and reducing the pace of vehicular movement. Inadequacy of the public transport system has led to the huge growth of vehicles on the road in our cities. An efficient Metro network helps in decongesting traffic in an efficient manner, reducing the overall carbon footprint. Metro is also preferred by commuters due to the comfort, safety and saving in commuting time. Most of the cities are planning to implement metro corridors and Tier 2 cities are planning to introduce ‘Metrolite’ cars. BEML is poised to contribute in meeting such requirements.

Which, according to you, is the landmark metro project in India and abroad?

Ans: Undoubtedly it is the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation); for the exemplary standards it set, whether in terms of quality, adherence to delivery timelines or indigenization. There have been vast improvements since the initial days of Delhi metro execution, and BEML, as a key stake holder, has always risen to the occasion – truly embodying the spirit of ‘Make in India’. Some of the innovations of BEML include for the first time in India, manufacturing CBTC based metro cars for KMRCL, Driverless metro coaches for Delhi Metro (RS10) and driverless Metro car project under execution for Mumbai Metro Line 2 & 7. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (nodal ministry for metro rail in India) has also played crucial role in development of metro rail ecosystem in India.

Globally, there are many successful mass transit systems including Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Moscow and London (one of the oldest), just to recall a few, which have played crucial roles in decongesting the urban transit system, thereby reducing the carbon footprint and creating a healthier planet.

Detail of the latest technologies being used by BEML to manufacture the metro coaches?

Ans: BEML uses state-of-the-art technology to manufacture metro cars. BEML technological base along with the manufacturing facilities available at Bangalore complex such as: Robotic welding systems, Laser / CNC / Optical tracer cutting machines, tailor-made project wise jigs and fixtures and Bogie traction motor run test facility conform to ISO certifications and global standards. BEML’s unique modular concept of assembly process enables minimum lead time for manufacturing and delivering the metro cars.

Key learnings from your experience and how they can be applied to the forthcoming projects?

Ans: Every Metro Project is unique by itself, bringing in newer and latest technology and features into the product. Apart from learnings, there is continuous innovation involved which is based on feedbacks and observations from execution of previous projects. This enables BEML to deliver the metro cars on time with highest quality standards, to our customers.

Any interesting highlights or features which distinguish BEML from other metro coach factories?

Ans: BEML’s metro coach facility at Bangalore is at par with other state-of-the-art facilities in the world. It is benchmarked for best practices in stainless steel manufacturing with high-quality centricity. BEML Bangalore complex is equipped with systems, machines, jigs and fixtures and test facilities which are exceptional facilities.

BEML strives for continuous quality improvements and is a proud recipient of numerous quality awards from prestigious bodies worldwide, which is a true testament to its commitment to quality.

What are the challenges, and how has it been overcome?

Ans: Keeping up with the current technology, skill and technology up-gradation, continuous training, and seamless collaboration with technological partners are the key challenges which BEML was able to overcome to become the leading metro manufacturer in India. BEML has also able to get most of its partners to set up their manufacturing facilities in India in the true spirit of  ‘Make in India’.

The Article first appeared in Metro Rail News May 2020 (Volume IV, Issue 41) | Subscribe Now

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